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Paul Shashkov
Paul Shashkov

Book Of The Astronomican Pdf 12

In the first book he ponders the origin of the universe, considering the theories of Xenophanes, Hesiod, Leucippus, Heraclitus, Thales, and Empedocles before arguing that the universe was created from the four elements and is governed by a divine spirit.[22][23][24] According to Manilius, the universe is composed of two spheres: one (the Earth) is solid and the other (the "sphere of stars", often called the firmament) is hollow. The constellations are fixed in the firmament; the Earth is stationary and the firmament revolves around it, explaining the movements of the stars. The planets, the Moon, and the Sun also revolve around the Earth in the vast space between its surface and the edge of the firmament.[25] Because the Earth is in the center of the universe, it is equidistant from the firmament and is thus not compelled to "fall" in any specific direction.[26] According to Manilius, the universe is ruled by a god (conspirat deus) and is governed by reason (ratione gubernat).[27][28][nb 4] Manilius next discusses the constellations and stars[24][30] and the celestial circles.[24][31] In this section, the poet spends considerable time contemplating the Milky Way band,[24][32] which, after exploring several hypotheses as to its existence,[nb 5] he concludes is likely to be the celestial abode for dead heroes.[24][33][34][35] The first book ends with an exploration of comets, which Manilius sees as harbingers of calamity or great disaster.[36][37]

Book Of The Astronomican Pdf 12

Books two and three deal mainly with the finer details of the zodiac.[38] Book two opens with a preface in which Manilius presents a brief history of hexameter poetry, singling out Homer and Hesiod. The purpose, Volk argues, is to emphasize the uniqueness of his poem in comparison to others rather than to insert himself into this poetic tradition. According to Manilius, "Every path that leads to Helicon has been trodden" (omnis ad accessus Heliconos semita trita est; all other topics have been covered) and he must find "untouched meadows and water" (integra ... prata ... undamque) for his poetry: astrology.[39][40] Manilius ends the book's preface by saying "that the divine cosmos is voluntarily revealing itself both to mankind as a whole and to the poet in particular", and that he is set apart from the crowd because his poetic mission has been sanctioned by fate.[41][42][43] The poet then begins his explanation of the first astrologically significant circle: the zodiac itself.[a][43][45] He first considers the signs of the zodiac (viz. Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces),[43][46] before discussing the aspects and relationships between the signs and other objects.[43][47] In this section, the poet briefly discusses the zodiac signs, the Olympian gods who serve as their protectors, and the relationship between the signs and the parts of the human body.[43][48] The Astronomica then considers dodecatemoria[b][43][50][51] before he deviates from the zodiac and begins to discuss the didactic method.[43][52] The book concludes with a consideration of the second astrologically significant circle, that of the fixed circle of the observer.[c][43][45][54] The last few lines are dedicated to an overview of the dodecatropos.[d][55][56]

According to Volk, "The basic tenet of what we might call Manilius' natural philosophy is the idea that the universe is divine".[87] She writes that Manilius is inconsistent about the location of this divinity. For instance, in his first book, Manilius claims the perfectly regular movement of the sun, moon, planets, and stars is proof that the universe is the product of a god; he also says the universe itself is a god (mundum ... ipsum esse deum).[87][88] Later in the same book, Manilius again says the universe is the "work of a great divinity" (magni ... numinis ordo).[87][89] Concerning this vacillation, Volk writes; "It is clear that there is a certain elasticity to Manilius' concept of the divinity of the universe ... Is the world simply ruled by a diuinum numen (cf. 1.484) or is it a deus (cf 1.485) itself?"[90] Volk answers that in the cosmology of the Astronomica, "God can be understood as the soul or breath ... present within the world [and] since this divine entity completely pervades the cosmos, it makes equally much sense to call the cosmos itself a god".[91] According to Volk, this interpretation of the universe, which states that it has a sense of intellect and that it operates in an orderly way, thus allows Manilius to contend both that there is an unbroken chain of cause and effect affecting everything within the cosmos and that fate rules all.[92]

Others have argued the work was originally longer and some hypothesize it comprised eight books.[118][120] These writers base their assertion on a letter sent in AD 983 by Gerbertus Aureliacensis (later Pope Sylvester II) to the Archbishop of Rheims, in which the former reports he had recently located "eight volumes about astrology by Boethius" (viii volumina Boetii de astrologia) at the abbey at Bobbio.[120] Boethius was often confused with Manilius because one of the former's names was "Manlius".[121] Those who favor the idea the poem was once longer argue the manuscript at Bobbio was a misattributed eight-book version of the Astronomica. Goold repudiates this hypothesis, noting the catalogue at Bobbio lists the work Gerbertus was likely referring to as composed of "three books by Boethius about arithmetic, and the rest [i.e. five] about astronomy" (libros Boetii iii de aritmetica [sic] et alterum de astronomia).[120] This, according to Goold, is evidence Gerbertus found one manuscript that contained both Boethius's De arithmetica and Manilius's Astronomica rather than an eight-book version of the latter.[120]

Volk, when considering the problem of completeness, proposed several hypotheses: the work is mostly complete but internally inconsistent about which topics it will and will not consider; the lacuna in book five may have originally contained the missing information; the lacuna may be relatively small and the work is unfinished; or entire books may have originally existed but were lost over time through the "hazardous process of textual transmission".[19]

Manilius frequently imitates Lucretius, who wrote the didactic poem De rerum natura. Some classicists have suggested that Manilius may have sought to emulate Lucretius by writing six books, but evidence for this hypothesis is scarce, and it remains mostly speculative.[122] While Lucretius's work espouses Epicureanism (a philosophy that emphasizes materialism and skepticism of superstition and divine intervention), Manilius's work is largely Stoic, and promotes a Greco-Roman understanding of creationism as well as fatalistic determinism.[3][123][124] Both Volk and the Lucretian scholar David Butterfield have argued that Manilius is in many ways, an "anti-Lucretius", with the former arguing that "his presentation in the Astronomica of an orderly cosmos ruled by fate is a direct attack on the random universe depicted by his predecessor".[123][125] Manilius sometimes conveys his philosophical stance via grammatical voice: unlike Lucretius, who often uses a passive construction to convey his understanding of nature, Manilius uses active grammatical constructions to convey the intentionality he sees in creation (e.g. "God and reason, which rules all things, guide earthly animals by heavenly signs", deus et ratio quae cuncta gubernat ducit ab aeternis terrena animalia signis).[126][127] Furthermore, while Lucretius used De rerum natura to present a non-theistic account of creation, Manilius "was a creationist rather than a materialistic evolutionist", and he consequently refers to "one spirit" (unus spiritus, 2.64), a "divine power" (divina potentia, 3.90), a "creator" (auctor, 3.681), and a "god" (deus, 2.475) throughout his poem.[124]

The Astronomica is influenced by Ovid's Metamorphoses, Virgil's Aeneid, Ennius's Annales, and the Greek didactic poet Aratus.[3][58][128] Aratus's influence s especially noticeable, and it seems likely that Manilius based much of his first book on portions of Aratus's Phaenomena.[28][129] Despite his debt to Aratus, Manilius diverges from his understanding of the cosmos; Aratus focuses on mythology and "graphic description", whereas Manilius emphasizes the scientific aspects of his work.[130] It is uncertain if Manilius had direct knowledge of Aratus's poem or if he used a translation by Cicero, Ovid, or Germanicus.[131][132] The latter position is favored by several 21st-century scholars, such as Dora Liuzzi and Emma Gee.[132][133] In regards to the poet's relationship with Germanicus, Wolfgang Hübner writes: "The few echoes of Germanicus' translation of Aratus are insufficient for us to establish which of the two drew on the other, or whether the two were composed independently of each other."[134]

Although it was largely ignored during antiquity and the Middle Ages, the poem generated scholarly interest upon its 15th-century rediscovery. The Italian humanist Lorenzo Bonincontri delivered lectures on the Astronomica to large audiences and compiled his lecture notes into the work's first commentary.[163] Bonincontri was apparently interested in Manilius's treatment of the nature of comets in the first book of the Astronomica, and, according to Stephan Heilen, portions of Bonincontri's De rebus naturalibus et divinis are based on Manilius's work.[164]

Despite the attention it received after its rediscovery, the Astronomica has never been as widely studied as other classical Latin poems. Nonetheless, interest in


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